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Who was Trump’s ‘personal loan officer’ at Deutsche Bank? Here's a look at why the bank lent him billions

The tax evasion allegations against Trump by NYT brought back the connection between him, the bank and Justin Kennedy – son of Justice Anthony M Kennedy – back in the spotlight
UPDATED SEP 28, 2020
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The New York Times' explosive report that President Donald Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he won the presidency and another $750 during his first year in office, has generated a lot of buzz on the Internet. NYT's allegations that he paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years, because he reported “losing much more money than he made,” is the hot topic right now on social media.

The NYT claims that they have obtained tax return data spanning two decades. However, this report has also led people to talk about Trump’s other financial ties and one such connection is with Deutsche Bank. An August New York Times report had stated that New York prosecutors who are looking into Trump’s tax records have also subpoenaed his longtime lender Deutsche Bank. According to the report, the Manhattan district attorney’s, Cyrus Vance, office issued a subpoena to the bank last year. The bank has been Trump’s primary lender since the late 1990s. They are seeking financial records that he and his company provided to the bank, according to four people familiar with the inquiry, states the report. According to the report, the German bank lent him and his company more than $2 billion over the past two decades.

A person enters Deutsche Bank's Manhattan headquarters following news that the global banking giant will be letting go of thousands of employees due to a major restructuring at the German bank on July 08, 2019, in New York City. The bank has announced that it will reduce its workforce by 18,000 people in Asia, Europe and America.

This also made the connection between Trump, the bank, and Justin Kennedy – son of Justice Anthony M Kennedy – back in the spotlight. According to a 2018 Washington Post article, Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank and Justin, who worked there from 1998 to 2009, has been documented over the years in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and other media. As per Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2016, Deutsche Bank is “the financial institution with probably the strongest ties” to Trump. “Other Wall Street banks, after doing extensive business with Mr. Trump in the 1980s and 1990s, pulled back in part due to frustration with his business practices but also because he moved away from real estate projects that required financing, according to bank officials,” the Journal reported.

As per the Washington Post report, the relationship with Trump reportedly started with a $125 million loan in 1998 to renovate an office building at 40 Wall Street in New York. Mike Offit, the Deutsche Bank executive who was responsible in bringing in Trump’s business, said this loan preceded Justin's hiring in 1998. Offit had worked with Justin at Goldman Sachs and later recruited him to Deutsche Bank, he said. “I was doing a lot of these big loans to a variety of real estate developers in New York and real estate companies. One of the brokers I dealt with, Rob Horowitz, called me and asked if I would consider making a loan to Trump,” Offit said. Months later, Trump took another loan of $300 million to build a condominium, Trump World Tower, facing the United Nations. Offit added, “Justin had nothing to do with either of those loans.”

After Offit's departure in 1999, another banker, Eric Schwartz, became Trump’s main point of contact, Offit said. In 2005, the bank and others reportedly loaned Trump $640 million to build the Trump International Hotel and Tower. As per the report, this is supposedly the only Deutsche Bank loan to Trump that involved Justin. According to the report, Justin, through a spokesman, declined to comment. Two people familiar with him and on the condition of anonymity claimed this was the only Trump loan he worked on during his time at Deutsche Bank. Justin does know Trump and knows his children socially, the insiders added.

Justin’s involvement with Trump on this loan, or possibly on other bank matters, is not very clear. “In that role, as the trader, he would have no contact with Trump … unless Eric [Schwartz] was trying to get Justin in front of Trump for schmoozing reasons,” Offit said. Trump failed to pay $334 million on the Chicago loan and sued Deutsche Bank in 2008. He argued that the global financial crisis was an unforeseeable event similar to a natural disaster. He also wanted $3 billion, stating that Deutsche Bank’s practices assisted in triggering the financial crisis. The lawsuit alleged that Deutsche Bank compromised the Chicago loan by selling off pieces to “so many institutions, banks, junk bond firms, and virtually anybody that seemed to come along,” the Wall Street Journal reported, as per The Washington Post. 

Deutsche Bank and Trump settled the matter out of court in 2009, and the commercial mortgage unit hasn’t done business with the POTUS again. However, his relationship with the bank continued, and it’s the private banking arm now repotedly handles his business. Rosemary Vrablic, Trump’s long-time wealth manager, is the main point of contact at Deutsche Bank.

The private banking unit loaned Trump $170 for the redevelopment of the Old Post Office building in Washington (now the Trump International Hotel), according to the Financial Times, the Washington Post report states. Vrablic’s unit also loaned Trump $125 million “to finance the purchase of Miami’s Doral Golf Resort and Spa in 2011, which he re-christened Trump National Doral,” according to the Wall Street Journal. These two loan transactions happened after Justin had left Deutsche Bank, by a division of the company where he didn’t work.

As reported by NYT in August this year, Vrablic has been working in the Deutsche Bank private-banking division since 2006. She is supposedly one of New York’s leading private bankers, generating tens of millions of dollars of annual revenue for the bank. Jared Kushner introduced Vrablic to his father-in-law. Vrablic was in the spotlight when Trump told NYT in 2016 about his strong relationship with Deutsche Bank — and exaggerated Vrablic’s role at the bank. “Why don’t you call the head of Deutsche Bank? Her name is Rosemary Vrablic,” he said in the interview. “She is the boss.”

This connection caused quite a social media storm as many Internet users took to Twitter to share their views on it. Actor Kirk Acevedo said, “Trump’s personal loan officer at Deutsche Bank was SCOTUS Justice Kennedy’s son. Corruption in Washington is prevalent in all branches of government! US Government is a farce!” A user said, “Trump was so desperate for cash that in 2012 that he took out a $100M mortgage on Trump Tower as a payout. Deutsche Bank then lent him over $150M that year. What bank on earth would ever touch anyone as remotely cash strapped as Trump?” Another user questioned, “Who made Donald Trump comfortable enough to personally guarantee $421 million in loans? And who made Deutsche Bank comfortable with the arrangement?” One alleged, “Someone please follow the money lead between Justin Kennedy, Justice Kennedy's son, and this Beast. Justin Kennedy personally handled loans to Trump for Trump's real estate properties. It all stinks. Follow the Deutsche Bank trail of Justin Kennedy and Trump.” One commented, “I can't wait to hear the Deutsche Bank rationalization.”






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